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T0889 Modify Program

Adversaries may modify or add a program on a controller to affect how it interacts with the physical process, peripheral devices and other hosts on the network. Modification to controller programs can be accomplished using a Program Download in addition to other types of program modification such as online edit and program append.

Program modification encompasses the addition and modification of instructions and logic contained in Program Organization Units (POU) 1 and similar programming elements found on controllers. This can include, for example, adding new functions to a controller, modifying the logic in existing functions and making new calls from one function to another.

Some programs may allow an adversary to interact directly with the native API of the controller to take advantage of obscure features or vulnerabilities.

Item Value
ID T0889
Tactics TA0110
Platforms Field Controller/RTU/PLC/IED
Version 1.1
Created 13 April 2021
Last Modified 09 March 2023

Procedure Examples

ID Name Description
S1006 PLC-Blaster PLC-Blaster copies itself to various Program Organization Units (POU) on the target device. The POUs include the Data Block, Function, and Function Block. 3
S0603 Stuxnet Stuxnet infects PLCs with different code depending on the characteristics of the target system. An infection sequence consists of code blocks and data blocks that will be downloaded to the PLC to alter its behavior. 4


ID Mitigation Description
M0947 Audit Provide the ability to verify the integrity of control logic or programs loaded on a controller. While techniques like CRCs and checksums are commonly used, they are not cryptographically strong and can be vulnerable to collisions. Preferably cryptographic hash functions (e.g., SHA-2, SHA-3) should be used. 2
M0945 Code Signing Utilize code signatures to verify the integrity of the installed program on safety or control assets has not been changed.


ID Data Source Data Component
DS0015 Application Log Application Log Content
DS0039 Asset Software
DS0029 Network Traffic Network Traffic Content
DS0040 Operational Databases Device Alarm